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Brown Rabbit in the City

Title: Brown Rabbit in the City

Author/Illustrator: Natalie Russell

Age Group: 2-6

Synopsis: Little Rabbit is excited to share the city with her friend Brown Rabbit but she focuses on being a good tour guide versus being a good friend.

The Low Down:

Trying to explain the complexities of friendship to young ones is somewhat daunting. The extended intricacies of sharing, considering feelings, and being thoughtful are sometimes things even in which adults do not excel. But little ones do quite well in learning small bits at a time and then practicing using those. Russell centers her story around this. The excitement of sharing something with a friend verses actually being a friend. Coupled with a color scheme that is beyond stunning and characters that embody cuteness itself, this book is a definite winner.

Russell’s story begins with Brown Rabbit as he makes his way to the city to visit his friend, Little Rabbit. He’s not been to the city before and Little Rabbit is determined to make the most of his visit. Barely taking a moment to breathe, they breeze through the city, much to Brown Rabbit’s dismay. The last item on their daily agenda is to attend a party, but Brown Rabbit is too tired to dance. When Little Rabbit returns to their table, she finds that he is no longer there. She realizes that in her effort to show him everything, she essentially ignored him all day. Luckily, Brown Rabbit is pretty easy going and after a little chat, everything is set to rights. The two friends spend the next day at a much more relaxed pace and end the book just enjoying being in each other’s company.

To say that Russell’s characters are darling is an understatement. The entire style with which she illustrates is charming and something I’d like to capture and carry about in my pocket. Her colors and embellishments on each page are not only quirky but whimsically inviting. She also combines some very simple background techniques with more detailed accompaniments. The sky, road, and grass may be one color each with no detailing or even shading. But a bus on the same page is carefully sculpted with highlights, shadows, and details. It makes it exceedingly easy for young readers to know what to focus on and creates a pleasant pop on the page. Russell also employs a fabulous use of patterns that blends seamlessly with the rest of her style and somehow enhances the already fabulous illustrations.

Between the ridiculously appealing illustrations and the beautifully delivered message about friendship, Russell has succeeded in creating a true little gem. The story itself focuses on an aspect of friendship that is truly important. Enjoying being with someone just for the the act of itself, is a difficult thing to remember. As someone who loves to see all that there is to see when we go somewhere, I occasionally need a Brown Rabbit of my own to remind me the importance of taking it a bit slower to enjoy the moment. Luckily, I married a Brown Rabbit of my own. I only hope that together we can pass on this important lesson to Bug.

Story Tips:

  1. Watch Little Rabbit’s bag as the story progresses.
  2. I read the entire city section at a fast, breathless pace to try to bring it to life. If you do this, awesome just remember to take time before you turn the page to appreciate the illustrations.

I need more!

The prequel to this book is Moon Rabbit featuring not only your favorite rabbit duo but also the same fabulous style that Natalie Russell uses for Brown Rabbit in the City. For an entirely different style check out: Hamish, the Highland Cow. For more suggestions go to: http://www.natalierussell.co.uk/html/books.html

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Brown Rabbit in the City



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